Since the 1790s travellers have been fascinated by the beauty, the unique and intriguing landscape, and the cultural heritage of Saxon and Bohemian Switzerland.
See what's planned
- Walk the 70 mile romantic Malerweg (Painters Trail).
- Visit Europe’s largest freestanding rock arch.
- Experience a glorious display of contrasting and breathtaking landscapes.
- Visit two wonderful contrasting cities.
Through woods rich in ferns and mosses, across meadows, up fissures between pillars of eroded sandstone, the Malerweg, or Painters’ Way, winds its way through Germany’s Saxon Switzerland. From rocky viewpoints the meandering Elbe is often visible. You first see the river beneath Prague’s Charles Bridge, where it is known as the Vltava. At the end of our journey you meet it once again in the neo-classical and Baroque splendour of Dresden.
We follow the Malerweg in its entirety from our riverside base in Krippen adjacent to the resort of Bad Schandau. Throughout the trail’s seventy miles, which we follow in eight stages, it is easy to see why great painters and musicians have found inspiration here. The unique jumble of rocks, the sweeping panoramas, the dampness of the forest floor, mists rising from the valleys; these are the very essence of the Romantic Movement.
The Malerweg links towns on the Elbe such as Pirna, with its squares and gabled roofs, with hamlets and villages such as Hohnstein, where a castle rises above half-timbered buildings and neat gardens. And of course it is always easy to find a café serving coffee and cake or a Gasthaus for beer and pretzels.
Our holiday starts with two nights in the enchanting fairytale city of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. We enjoy a full day to explore the city with a local guide. We’ll wander through the narrow cobbled streets, visiting such city gems as the Old Town Hall with its remarkable 15th century astrological clock.
Our holiday ends with two nights in Dresden where a local guide will introduce us to the rich cultural heritage including the famous sights of the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady), Preidenkirche and Fürstenzug (Procession of the Princes), Old Masters Picture Gallery and Zwinger just to name a few.
- Return flights from Heathrow to Prague (British Airways)
- Airport transfers
- Half board en suite accommodation
- Explore Prague and Dresden with an English speaking local guide.
- All local transport costs.
What's not included?
- Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
- Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
- Discretionary tips
- Optional excursions
- Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)
This is a grade 6 walking holiday where there will be full days of walking up to 7 hours a day. There will also be days where there is less walking. For example, the first section of the Malerweg and our walks both in Prague and Dresden will mainly involve sightseeing on foot. We will walk the Malerweg in eight sections. We expect to complete one section per day with a rest day part way through. The length of the sections vary from 8½ to 13 miles (12 to 21km), with an average length of 10½ miles (17km). The paths are well-made and maintained but most of the sections include relatively steep ascents and descents, some of which involve flights of steps, metal staircases and metal step-ladders. However, the presence of hand rails along the more difficult stretches means that there are no exposed paths anywhere along the route. The maximum altitude reached on this holiday is 550m.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
We fly from London Heathrow to Prague. On arrival we transfer by bus to our hotel in Prague for 2 nights.
Transfer Time = 40m
We explore the fascinating city of Prague with a local sightseeing guide.
Today we travel by road to Bad Schandau (Krippen) where we stay for the following 10 nights. We enjoy a walk around the local area in the afternoon.
We start the first of our walks on the Malerweg trail. We walk from Liebenthal to Stadt Wehlen. A relatively easy first day walk, with a trail that meanders along the Wesenitz stream, alongside beautiful rape covered fields and through the forest of the Sächsiche Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland) National Park. We end in the Riverside town of Wehlen.
Stadt Wehlen to Hohnstein. This is a more challenging day than the previous one. We walk along the Elbe, then the trail climbs steeply uphill, high above the Elbe River, before we come to the unique sandstone rock formation of the Bastei area. We end the walk at the delightful town of Hohnstein.
Hohnstein to Altendorf. Starting in Hohnstein the trail takes us along a delightful pine forest trail below sandstone cliffs to reach the Brand viewpoint, the ‘Balcony of Saxon Switzerland’. We take 800 steps down to the valley floor of the Polenztal, then back up to the village of Waitzdorf. We finish in Altendorf and get views of tomorrow’s rocky area, the Schrammsteine.
Altendorf to Neumannmühle. We start by walking down through a gorge to Kirnitzschtal and cross the historic tram line from Bad Schandau. From here the route becomes slightly challenging as we climb through the rocks with the help of a collection of steps and a short ladder in the crevices of the rock face. This section is quite steep so we take it nice and slow. We soon find ourselves on top of the jagged sandstone rock formations of the Schrammsteine, and continue along the ridge which offers excellent views. And what goes up must come down as we take a steep path with more steps. After crossing the tram line again we climb to the spectacular rock archway, the Kuhstall, before finishing in the valley.
Neumannmühle to Schmilka. We walk through mainly wooded paths, which is steep in some cases and rough underfoot. The views at the top from the Grosses Pohlshorn and the Goldsteinaussicht make it all worth the effort. At the highest point of the whole walk, the Grosses Winterberg (556m high), a tower can be climbed to give a 360 degree view of the surrounding hills and forests. After another descent with many steps, we end in the attractive and sleepy riverside town of Schmilka, a few hundred metres from the Czech border.
Schmilka to Kurort Gohrisch. Now on the south side of the Elbe, we walk along some wooded paths but the terrain is more open today and not so many steep paths to tackle. We walk amongst open farm fields and through the village of Reinhardtsdorf, with its impressive baroque style church. There are some steps to tackle to reach the summit of the Papstdorf, which rewards us with spectacular views.
Kurort Gohrisch to Kurort Rathen. We walk across fields which offer fine views towards Konigstein Castle. We then climb to the top of the Pfaffenstein, a flat top mountain, which entails a rather strenuous ascent up numerous wooden and iron steps. We enjoy more walking in the forest around, but not up, the Quirl rocks, before descending into Konigstein for lunch. After lunch a steep climb takes us around the outside of Konigstein Castle, before we continue on to Weissig and then descend to Kurort Rathen on the River Elbe.
Kurort Rathen to Pirna. Today will involve us climbing yet another flat top mountain, the Rauenstein. Although not as high as the previous one, therefore the climb is less demanding, but with plenty of steps. From the superb ridge walk we can enjoy views across the Elbe to the Bastei Rock, visited on section 2. We continue down a steep cobbled path to the village of Naundorf, and then along the Elbe to Pirna and the end of the trail at the Canaletto House with, appropriately, a Canaletto painting of the (unchanged) Pirna market square.
Here we have a free day to further explore the area independently.
Bilderberg Bellevue Hotel Dresden
We transfer by road to Dresden. After lunch we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour with a local guide to explore the city.
Bilderberg Bellevue Hotel Dresden
Today we further explore Dresden and discover some local walks.
We transfer by road to Prague airport for check-in and return flight to the UK.
Walks & Excursions
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator.
We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by
us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price,
non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or
additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Germany
The currency in Germany is the euro .
Currency in Czech Republic
The currency in the Czech Republic is the Czech Koruna (CZK). Banks and ATM machines can be found within easy reach of the hotels and in most towns and villages.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
To enhance your experience, as well as your tour leader, each holiday will be accompanied in some centres by a well qualified and knowledgeable English-speaking local guide.
Your Travel Details
Return flights are with British Airways from London Heathrow to Prague. The transfer from Prague Airport to our hotel in Prague will take around 45 minutes and will be by private coach. Our transfers between centres will also be by private coach. The transfer from Prague to Bad Schandau on day 3 of the holiday takes approximately 2 hours. Our transfer from Bad Schandau to Dresden on day 13 of the holiday will take approximately 1 hour.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passports and Visas
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport.
Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents
and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to
ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply
with, such requirements.
General travel and destination advice for UK nationals is available from the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office at www.fco.gov.uk/travel
and at www.gov.uk/travelaware.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Breakfast and dinners are included in the holiday price. Each hotel has a buffet breakfast where you can choose from an excellent selection of fresh fruits, fruit salads, smoked specialities, hot dishes, jams, cereals, salt and sweet pastry, coffee, tea, and juice. We dine in local restaurants whilst in Prague where we can sample traditional Czech and German dishes. We eat dinners in the hotel restaurants during our stay in Bad Schandau and Dresden where we can expect a mixture of local delicacies served as buffet style or three course set menus. Lunches are not included in the price of the holiday. We can usually take these as a picnic lunch or in a local cafe.
Footwear & Kit List
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
- Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
- Lightweight quick-drying trousers
- Walking T-shirt/shirts
- Walking socks
- Fleece or jumper
- Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
- Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
- Swimwear (if appropriate)
- Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
- Day sack liner
- Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
- Basic first aid kit
- Walking poles (should you find them useful)
- Sit mat
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
- Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
- Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
- Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
- Holiday money
- Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
- Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
- Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
- Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
- Your travel insurance details
- Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
- Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
- A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
- Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about
Electricity in Germany
In Germany the electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Electricity in Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic the electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is
filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter
such as a Water-to-go bottle available from
Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go
for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website
at www.watertogo.eu and
enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the
discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us
to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information
Maps, Guidebooks & More
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:
Find out more
2hrs from UK
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Avg. Rain: 52mm
Avg. Rain: 43mm
Avg. Rain: 46mm
Avg. Rain: 50mm
Avg. Rain: 62mm
Avg. Rain: 77mm
Avg. Rain: 85mm
Avg. Rain: 78mm
Avg. Rain: 60mm
Avg. Rain: 55mm
Avg. Rain: 54mm
Avg. Rain: 58mm
Staying Healthy On Holiday
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility
to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on,
and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure.
Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Germany
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Germany.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.
Health Advice for Czech Republic
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to the Czech Republic.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus, Tick-borne Encephalitis and Hepatitis B.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not
insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately
insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to
participate in our local walking and other activity programmes
without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you
for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region)
and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue)
and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness
or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities,
included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally
the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your
insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance
once your holiday arrangements have started.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information
on security and local laws for travellers, together with current
passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware.
Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible
precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays
of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches.
Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day,
and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations.
Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence
of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups
not only gives you an up close and personal experience of
your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate
environment. We feel that the most important starting point
to protect the environment is to be out in it.
For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able
to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives.
Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose
aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries
we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long
term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less
developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way.
See our website for more information and details of some of the
projects we support.
Staying In Touch
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature
of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change
to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and
your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your
attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Ramblers Walking Holidays
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
- 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent.
These walks are in more remote areas such as Andorra or northern Portugal.
Similar to Grade 5, but with most of the walks at the upper level of ascent/descent, time and distance.
Discover more about our walking grades